After a 9 hour day flight from Dubai we arrived in Bali. We were surprised at the humidity on leaving arrivals (it was so hot for 10pm) and jumped into a cab after getting ripped off by a “porter”. After wandering up to the taxi office, we booked a taxi for the 25 minute drive to Seminyak for 200k IDR (about £12). We were then allocated a guy who we thought was the driver and allowed him to carry our bags. When we arrived at the taxi we soon realised that he wasn’t the driver. The guy wouldn’t leave without a tip so after telling him I had nothing less than 100k he said he had change. Did I ever get the change – no!! So, we ended up paying a guy to carry our bags half of what we paid for a 25 min taxi. You live and you learn! Tip – get smaller notes at the bureau de change.
Jack and I both loved Seminyak and it reminded us of Koh Samui in Thailand with pretty beaches and a selection of bars, restaurant and nice hotels. We chose Seminyak after reading lots of blogs and decided we weren’t Kuta (backpacker central and known for bright lights/ being a bit cheesy) people. You can tell that Seminyak is more “upmarket” based on the number of boutique shops and art galleries in the centre.
On our first day we headed to the beach. Our hotel – Harris Hotel – was a very good budget hotel with all the necessary amenities, albeit a small pool, about a 15/20 walk from the beach. They offered a complimentary shuttle service (golf buggy) which we took to the beach. All the beds in our private area were taken so we hired beds for 100k (£6). The beach was lovely and the sea was warm- a nice change from the med. As always, there were LOADS of beach sellers but they didn’t seem too pushy. The girls next to us managed to haggle 2 foot massages for 150k (£9) – not bad.
After a day on the beach we headed into the centre for dinner and drinks. There is so much to chose from but here are a few of our faves: – Made’s warung: authentic Indonesian/ balinese food with local dancing.
– Rumours: cheap mix of local and foreign food, always packed.
– Sangsaka: this was a recommendation in The Bali Bible. A new restaurant which was more expensive than the rest, but comparable to a Michelin Star restaurant (the beef was to die for). Only downside was that it was completely dead at 8pm. We still only paid about £36 for two courses and a soft drink each) which felt like good value for money.
– Char char: restaurant/ bar. They have steps which they use as tables. A great place for happy hour and to people watch. 90s/00s British music (think Ronan Keeting and Allsaints).
Only downside of Seminyak is the number of taxi drivers who beep every time they see a white person and shout “taxi”. The I ❤️ Bali sign is located in Seminyak Square if anyone is interested in a good photo op.
We visited the rooftop bar at Double Six one evening which was a great place to watch the sun go down and has the price tag to match. We also spent a day at Potato Head Beach Club, however you have to get here at 9am to secure a day bed (with a 500k IDR / £30 min spend). We arrived at 1pm and didn’t get a bed until 4.30pm as they operate a waitlist. We therefore had to make use of other seating around the bar etc for a while. The food and drinks were great – definitely worth a visit for the beautiful surroundings (infinity pool/ day beds/ swim up bar), just get there early!
We hired a driver for our transfer to Ubud on day 5 so that we could visit a few sights on the way. First we stopped at Tanah Lot, the temple in the middle of the sea. The temple is only accessible at low tide so unfortunately we could not make the trip onto the island, but it was so lovely to see. We managed to miss the crowds by visiting around lunchtime, however I am told that there is a better view at sunset. We then ventured onto Tengenungan waterfall. We were a bit sceptical after our driver made a comment about the waterfall being small, however we were so happy when we arrived! It’s a bit of a trek to get down to the waterfall (and even more so on the way back up) but is a lovely place to cool down and take some great pics.
When we made it to Ubud it was raining – a regular occurrence during our stay – we let that pass before then heading out for dinner. We were surprised at the lack of late night bars etc but soon decided that it was a nice change from Seminyak and a good opportunity to get some rest.
Our hotel was right next to the monkey sanctuary, which is well worth a visit. We spent an hour or so here and must’ve seen over 200 monkeys – they are literally everywhere you look! There are stalls selling bananas so you can get there attention and take some great pics. Beware- they will climb or chase you for bananas, so unless you want one on your shoulder (like Jack), keep them hidden.
The only trouble with staying so close to the monkeys was that they are everywhere even outside the sanctuary (by our pool, in the road etc). I came out of the supermarket one afternoon with a bag of crisps and one brave monkey launched itself at me, took the crisps and ran! I was left crispless and in shock 😂.
Whilst in Ubud, we went to the market looking for a bargain. I managed to pick up a shot glass to add to my collection, a small Buddha head and a sarong for a couple of pound each. The market is huge, well hidden and the sheer amount of stalls is mesmerising- we had to retrain ourselves due to lack of money and lack of luggage space.
The next morning we were awaken to the sound of my alarm going off at 1.30am. After a couple of hours sleep, this really isn’t the sound you want to here, but it was all worth it as we were heading for Mount Batur to trek to the top before sunrise. Expecting this to be well within our fitness levels, we headed out confident and in trainers which, on reflection were not the best idea. After an hour or so drive and picking up 4 other people on the way, we reached the bottom of the mountain and with no brief or safety talk headed our assent with our two guides. The first hour was a steady incline which we were pleased about, but this didn’t prepare us enough for the second hour which was practically vertical. Although it was touch and go as to whether we would make it in time for sunrise, we met the summit with 15 minutes to spare and sat amongst the other exhausted people waiting for the sun to do its thing. The trek down was just as hard as there were loose rocks. I managed to slip a couple of times and am still trying to heal by grazes. Although the trek wasn’t easy, it was great to be able to push ourselves and achieve something before 6am! If you are heading to Bali then this is a must, just make sure you do the 30 day squat challenge first hahaha!
We ate at a number of restaurants which served local and international food during our stay (shout out to De’warung and Cintra) and also experienced green banana pancakes courtesy of our hotel breakfast. Bintang’s (local beer) were cheap and many restaurants had happy hours from 3-7pm every day, which helped our budget.
Overall, we loved the charm of both Seminyak and Ubud, but have to say that Seminyak triumphed this time mainly due to the weather.
Love as always xx